The Growing Threat of Editorial Cartoons

The Growing Threat of Editorial Cartoons
By Jason Carlson
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In recent days Muslims all over the world have joined in violent protests.  Muslims in Syria set the Danish and Norwegian embassies ablaze, in Gaza Palestinians rioted, burned flags, and tried to storm the EU office and German representative office, in Lebanon, another Danish embassy was burned and a Catholic church was pelted with stones, and there have been demonstrations from London to Indonesia where Muslims have called for hangings and have pledged their "blood to redeem the prophet".
What has gotten the Muslim world so riled up?  Did somebody invade <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Mecca?  No, the Muslim world has been whipped up into frenzy over a few editorial cartoons that have been printed in Europe, and now around the world, which depict the prophet Mohammed.  Yes, you heard me correctly, editorial cartoons.
If editorial cartoons are now a justification for violent protests the world is in a great deal of trouble.  There is an ever-growing cultural divide taking place in our world between Muslims and every other member of the human race.  This is not a division that has been imposed upon Muslims, but rather a divide that they have imposed upon themselves and upon the rest of the world.  And if editorial cartoons are now a proper motivation for violent protest in the Islamic mind, how can the rest of the world ever have any hope for any real genuine and fruitful debate and dialogue with Muslims?
Muslims continually call for the Western world to respect their values, but it is always on their terms.  For example, while Muslims riot around the globe over these caricatures of Mohammed, we hear no apologies from them directed towards the Jewish and Christian communities, who are regularly depicted in the Arab media as apes and swine.  Muslims call for respect, but where is Islam's respect for Western values in return?  There is none in Islam and the rest of us "infidels" better wake-up to that reality pretty quickly.
Now hear me clearly on this next point: I am not calling for hatred or violence against Muslims; those are responses totally at odds with being a follower of Jesus Christ.
What I am calling for is the Western world to be honest about the threat posed by Islam.  I am calling for an open examination of the teachings of Islam found in the Koran and the Hadiths.  I am calling for concerned members of the human race to not simply listen to the Muslim apologists who appear on FOX News and CNN, but for them to examine and judge the life and teachings of Mohammed for themselves.  And I am calling for Muslims to enter into a process of self-examination and constructive debate with the rest of the world; this implies a willingness to listen objectively to the critiques of your religion and respond to them intellectually, not simply with juvenile ranting and ravings.  If Islam is the true religion, then convince us of that intellectually, but when you respond to every criticism of Islam with threats and acts of violence, that doesn't impress anybody.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Muslim people.  I know many Muslims personally and I have been blessed by friendships I've made as I've traveled throughout the Muslim world, and it saddens me to see the rift that Islam is creating between members of the human race.  But this rift is not a necessary reality.  Members of differing cultures and religions don't have to agree with one another on every point, but we do have to be willing to live with each other.  So, to the Muslims out there… let's talk, let's debate, and let's argue vigorously even, but enough with the violence already!

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